MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Alabama Department of Public Health currently lists 3,213 confirmed or probable deaths connected to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the number could possibly change.
Wednesday, ADPH confirmed it has started a review process covering a large number of deaths from the Alabama Center for Health Statistics.
ADPH cautioned that a review of data is a standard process, not only for COVID-19, but for other diseases.
The review could mean ADPH will add more deaths to its total in the coming days and weeks that are historical rather than a reflection of recent deaths.
Health officials pointed out that when looking at the current death rate featured on ADPH’s COVID-19 dashboard, more than half are from a review of historic data.
“As part of the process for reporting deaths, each death is reviewed as records are received and investigations are opened,” ADPH said. “There may be delays in death reporting due to receiving information from hospitals, coroners, and other entities who send records to ADPH.”
ADPH also said its review may result in some deaths being removed from its official count. Those may be due to several circumstances including a duplication of records or findings that a reported death was not COVID-19 related.
And the health department said there may, in rare instances, be reports of a death when the person has not died.
In August, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data that showed the majority of people who have died from COVID-19 had pre-existing medical conditions.
Only six percent of deaths had only COVID-19 listed in the death report, the CDC stated.
“For 6% of the deaths, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned,” the report said. “For deaths with conditions or causes in addition to COVID-19, on average, there were 2.6 additional conditions or causes per death.”
Nationwide. the death rate due to COVID-19 is said to be approximately 241,000 according to John Hopkins University.